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Issues » 2014/4 - Social Justice »

Lubomír Mlčoch

Gratuitousness within Economic Space and in the Social Policy


Mainstream economics based on the principle of self-interest has steadily evolved into selfishness and opportunism, sometimes even as a celebration of greed or as the doctrine of corporate amorality. Imperial economics has ambitions to govern every field of human activity. This evolution has resulted in a dichotomic social order and a crisis of western culture. On the other hand, the study of psychology in economics and the science of happiness have discovered paradoxes of impersonal rationality, such as the erosion of trust in society, and joyless accumulation of wealth in the economy. The author refers to a new Italian school of civil economy and economy of community, both spiritually tied to the Focolare Movement, and represented by professors Stefano Zamagni and Lugino Bruni. Deeper psychology in the economic motivation returns economics back to “moral sentiments”, intrinsic values and ethics of virtues. Selflessness, unselfish behavior is needed not only in social work, but also within market relations. Macroeconomic and social policies have to support the “public happiness” and good relations between people rather than permanent GDP growth and irrational consumption. References to several social experiments of lived selflessness give hope that stories of unselfish actions can mean more than a mere fairy tale for adults.


psychology in economics, self-interest, unselfishness, multi-dimensional market, civil economy, public happiness, social policy

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